The perfect chilli con carne needs time. You have to cook it slow and let it mature. Amazing chilli is hot enough to make your nose run, but still retains the flavours of the other spices. Make it a day in advance if you can. This lot will feed 2 of you for 3 or 4 days…
- We’re going to cook this on the hob then transfer to the oven, so find a big pan capable of both.
- Chop the onion and garlic and put it on a low heat. Pop the lid on and sweat the onions for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Chop the steak into small cubes or strips, don’t go too small or you will lose them amongst the mince.
- In a separate pan, on a very high heat, flash fry the steak for just long enough to seal it. You can drain any liquid back into the onions. Fry the bacon too if you are using it until it’s bordering on crispy. Set to one side.
- When the onions are ready chop and add half the chillis and a couple of pinches of cumin seeds
- After a minute or so add the mince to the pan. When it starts to brown season heavily with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Crumble the oxo cube over it – or stir in a few tsp of the stock concentrate if you are using that
- Add the steak and bacon to the mix
- Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of chili powder (this helps to even out the heat), 3 tsp of cumin, 2 tsp of ground corriander, 1 tsp of paprika and 1 tsp of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick or two (if you don’t have then add an extra tsp of ground cinnamon).
- Give it a stir and add the tins of chopped tomatoes.
- Stir this up and give it a couple of minutes to settle, then add a generous sprinkling of oregano and a few bay leaves. Followed by the hydrated sun-dried tomatoes if you are using them, the tomato puree, and a good 2 or more tablespoons of Worcester Sauce.
- Give it a good mix and taste it. At this stage it shouldn’t be too hot as we have only added half the chillis. Chop and add as many more as you think you need. Season again if need be, a good chili needs more than an average amount of salt to draw out it’s potential.
- Add plenty of honey or maple syrup and/or some brown sugar. Maybe even molasses would be good.
- Throw in the booze! Add the whisky, beer or red wine/port until the mix is quite liquidy (probably best to water down the whiskey).
- Stir it all up, chop and add your peppers and throw in the kidney beans and I reckons y’all about done!
- Stir thoroughly then simmer with the lid off to reduce the liquid.
- Add the liquid smoke (or smoke powder)
- Over the next hour come back from time to time to check the mix and add a little more beer as it reduces. Taste regularly and adjust with extra spice as needed. If you have underestimated the amount of chillis and it’s not hot enough, the best thing to do is add some dried chilli flakes (we have a bottle of chilli vodka, which is even better).
- Finally, when you think it is of a good semi-thick consistency put it in an oven preheated to 160 degrees
- Cook it for 3-4 hours stirring occasionally. If it looks too watery take the lid off for the last half hour.
- Serve with rice, sprinkle with cheese, add a handful of tortillas and a dollop of sour cream and garnish with some fresh coriander. A couple of bottles of Mexican beer with lime wedges in the bottle neck will set things of perfectly!